So Beautiful You’ll Cry
“Aren’t they BEAUTIFUL?” she asks with a blissful smile, holding up a couple of specimens as she packs net bags for sale. Teresa Daniele of Teresa’s All Natural has had a bumper crop of onions this year and she’s understandably proud. Onions the size of kids’ Wiffle balls sit among more ordinary (???!) softball-sized, papery jewels and a good contingent of the smaller, normal-sized onions which will store best into the winter. Not that you’d be able to resist eating the giant ones for long, anyway.
Teresa’s crop – a mix mostly of red Mercury and yellow LaSalle onions – has been drying in her workroom for weeks. When they emerged from the ground the green stalks stood over two feet high on some plants, and the onion bulbs were shiny, shiny and covered by just a few leaves of onion “paper.” Traditionally a grower might lay onions out in the sun for a day to cure and begin the drying process and then hang them from their green stems in a shady spot with lots of ventilation to dry down. Teresa, who’s been doing this for longer than some of us have been alive, scoffed when we asked her about hanging. She’s perfected her own method and after a few days of curing trimmed the stems an inch or so above the bulb and left them on a flat surface to finish drying down: forming layers of dry onion paper on their outsides which will protect them from moisture and bacteria that would damage them. Now they’re ready to be eaten or stored – for as long as you can store beautiful local onions screaming to be eaten, anyway – and Teresa is looking for customers interested in taking them in larger quantities.
There are hundreds of onions lying on Teresa’s drying tables, and she’s going to need that space in short order for root vegetables. Between now and Friday evening she’ll be taking orders by phone for anyone interested in purchasing 10-lb bags of storage onions. Customers will pick up their orders at the Market on Saturday.
There are limited quantities, of course – hundreds of onions do break down into a surprisingly few 10-lb bags – so please call soon to avoid being disappointed.
Teresa Daniele can be reached at 767-7346. Please leave a message if she or husband John doesn’t answer. They might just be out back crying over those beautiful onions.